Work is Rest – Rest is Work


“Work is rest. Rest is work. How’s that possible?” asks Kul Bhushan in this essay.

Both work and rest are totally opposite and so it is not realistic that they are the same. But they are! Just think that rest is a major global industry that gives work to millions of people. After all, what is tourism? People go on holidays to rest and this has developed into one of the biggest service industries in the world today.

Now take another look at work. When you work without getting involved, it becomes as enjoyable as rest. Rest is nothing but relaxed living. When you are resting you are always doing something – sleeping, reading, and listening and so on.

Work Rest van Gogh

Some people are so concerned with work that when they do not have any work to do they become restless. So worklessness becomes restlessness. You surely know many people who cannot sit idle and become restless when they do not have any work. These concepts of interchanging work and rest were brilliantly presented by George Orwell in his classic novel 1984 in which he coined many slogans such as War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength; and most shocking of all, Ministry of Truth for false propaganda! Of course, we all know too well how the Ministry of Information of many governments spreads misinformation!

We all complain that we are overworked. Do not go on thinking that modern man is more burdened with work. He is less burdened. A primitive man is more burdened. Osho says,

You have more time than any age, and you are not exhausted because of the work. You are exhausted because you have lost the inner contact – because you do not know how to go deep in yourself and be revitalized.
Osho, The Ultimate Alchemy Vol. 2, Ch 8, Q 2

That brings us to rest. Here again, we are never rested. After a hectic holiday, the normal sigh is, “I’m so tired! I need another holiday to recover from this one!”

Even on holiday, man has to do some work. Only a man of love can rest. There is a fulfilment when you can rest. But a man running after money can never rest because there is no end to it.

So what’s the solution between work and rest? Both are interchangeable in many situations. But real rest is only possible when you are doing nothing. And this is most difficult – indeed impossible – if you do not know meditation.

Kul Bhushan

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